Muscle Activation Techniques and other modalities

Muscle Activation Techniques and Other Modalities

There are so many techniques and modalities that claim to eradicate an individual’s problems. There’s chiropractors, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, trigger point, ultrasound, myofascial release just to name a few that are very common. MAT™ is an addition to the toolbox with a specific approach and a unique goal that can be invaluable to the recipient which can stand alone in its course of action to improve someone’s performance. There is a bias to raising awareness of this approach that has come about due to gaps in existing treatments where the results aren’t successful in regards to achieving muscle pain relief, mobility, muscle tightness or overall physical performance.

Muscle tightness is more than likely associated with poor posture, decreased range of motion which may cause muscle aches that may contribute to future injuries if not identified and eliminated. It’s important to observe how the body reacts to an unstable surface. It might tighten up for restriction of movement to gain more support for further control of the position. The body may use muscle tightness which contributes to muscle pain as a method of support and control to benefit us by observing that instability is an internal problem at the joint.

When there is a flare up of chronic pain or an acute injury, other treatments and therapies will be your first port of call. MAT™ will be your next stop to ensure that stability is maintained in order to recover faster as well as addressing imbalances that may have preceded the injury.

Like any forms of treatment such as the ones previously mentioned, MAT™ can provide an alternative for those that have thru several modalities or perhaps may work in conjunction with other therapies. The success with these unique methods may come down to the specific requirements of the individual for what they need or goals to address their muscular, structural, chronic, acute issues, pain or imbalances.

A Muscle Activation Techniques™ Specialist will NOT be able to diagnose your pain. If you are unsure whether your problem is more than a muscular one then you would be advised to seek normal medical attention. If muscle tightness, lack of mobility and weakness is part of the problem then this is what the MAT™ specialist will focus on and improve. An MAT™ specialist is a muscular specialist and will identify, address and eliminate muscular imbalances throughout the body that either directly pull on the spine or indirectly pull through related joints possibly resulting in pain or injury.

MAT™ can provide an alternative for those that have thru several modalities or perhaps may work in conjunction with other therapies.

Click on each modality to read more

Active Release Techniques (ART) tries to restore range of motion by looking to ALTER the physiological state of the muscle. The core benefit is to prevent and break up dense scar tissue also referred to as adhesions. These adhesions limit joint range of motion because they cause abnormal binding between muscles and act like a glue which can create tension in the muscle tissue and compress or pinch nerves causing muscle pain. The therapist does this by manually applying a counter tension with tensile, compressive and shear forces into the tenderness muscle with their hands to further lengthening or slide the muscle relative to the adjacent tissue to impede the motion. The patient is to actively move the injury site from a shortened position to a lengthened position.

While adhesions and scar tissue seem to be a mainstream hypothesis on why muscles might be functioning poorly. It is unfortunately over diagnosed. Unless a muscle has been damaged through a strain or physically altered due to a surgery, an adhesion or even scar tissue is an unlikely cause of the dysfunction.

Scarring is a cyclical process. For example, when muscle tissue is torn or cut through there is a natural process of scarring which takes place. This process begins with the building phase which usually takes up to 3 weeks for the scar to form and be laid down. Once this scar has reached this phase it remains there until a few months as it begins to flatten back down. Unfortunately, once the process is complete, the layers of connective tissue can become adhered to each other much like the pages of a soaking wet book. These adhesions are what can alter muscle function.

Muscles layers are supposed to slightly slide over each other, during the shortening and lengthening process. If this does not occur, muscle function can be diminished as inappropriate tensions can be induced into the tissues causing an inhibitory response. In certain situations, this is exactly what could be causing muscle weakness. However, in most all cases which have not be a result of a torn muscle through surgery or exercise, scar tissue and adhesions are a guess at best.

Many people who have received Active Release Techniques have had drastic reductions in symptoms. However, Active Release Techniques is not an end-game tool. It may be most effective in the beginning phases of injury or surgery recovery of muscle tissue. Unfortunately, a side effect of aggressive Active Release Techniques is that it can open up ranges of motion past the body’s active range.

You are probably wondering how more mobility could be a bad thing?

When a joint is mobilized past its active muscle contractile range muscle weaknesses become apparent, we see this time and time again through muscle testing after a patient has received Active Release Techniques. If weaknesses are incurred they can therefore decrease a joint’s overall stability. At this point the central nervous system recognizes instability and begins to tighten its muscles again to protect the joint, potentially the exact same muscles which previously were torn could be tight again and be prone to a restrain.

Chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial in that manipulating the spine into a more neutral position along with mobilizing fixations can aid in the recovery of spinal dysfunctions. This is with the aim of making a treatment more effective and last longer or developing support further so that your body can handle higher levels of stress.

Stress in this case is relative to you, whether it is lifting, running, sitting down to work, walking up the stairs or participating in a sport.

However, we do know that muscle(s) which is controlled by the central nervous system is the mechanical device for moving bone. If muscle contractions are not orchestrating efficiently, any bone manipulation has a lower likelihood of holding for a long enough period of time to make a change.

When an MAT practitioner is working in tandem with a Chiropractor there is a greater effect of spinal manipulations responding. MAT will aim to address the tight or dysfunctional contractile patterns which will in turn allow for manipulations to be far easier to accomplish for the Chiropractor.

Traditional approaches of muscle tightness or lack of joint mobility which contribute to muscle pain are viewed as “the problem.” Massage therapy and stretching have the benefits of improving the general wellbeing through effects of the vascular, lymphatic and nervous system having the aim of reducing muscle tension by inhibition.

Applying force to the body by any means including stretching or palpated through massage techniques may positively respond by recovering and adapting. This will increase strength, endurance and mobility which concludes that the stress or force that was previously applied was the right amount or type of stimulation for the body.

A negative response will break down further muscle tightness, injury and pain. The stress of the treatment, exercise, or compensation that caused by it is too much for the body which can contribute to more pain. This negative reaction is where MAT can be applicable for reducing this tension that may originally be the cause of muscular pain.

The muscles that provide stability for the joint are now activated to add support that will reduce this tension. Tightness in one area of the body may be a compensation for weakness in a different area. When this symptomatic tightness is resolved, the underlying imbalances may remain. This is where MAT checks for even when there is positive reaction and mobility has been achieved with other treatments.

The approach is very similar with chiropractic and osteopathy in regards to treating the system as a whole via the relationship of the spine and nervous system that treat a wide range of ailments. In the case of acupuncture, acupressure and reflexology, it focuses on the relationship of points around the body with energy pathways called meridians. When the body is out of balance and stressed, then acupuncture, acupressure, or reflexology readdress that balance to improve the health of the body. It is uncertain to be exact on how this all works but the benefits of these treatments are widely recognized.

These modalities mentioned (including MAT) use hands on techniques with the inclusion of needles in acupuncture. Whether these techniques are specifically aimed directly or indirectly at the area of treatment with the goal of influencing the workings of the body as a whole.

These techniques used in these alternative therapies of acupuncture/acupressure/reflexology to stimulate the body may be negative or positive or short lived. If mobility is achieved in any case, MAT can be used in conjunction to ensure stability with more effective results.

MAT is designed to jumpstart inhibited muscles which improves communication between the muscle and the nervous system. If the connections of a car battery are loose, its either going to stall or not go. With this increased communication, it will allow the muscles around the joint to regulate its tension and add immediate support.